The inspiration for Ashton Hirota’s spring collection for Ashton Michael was witchcraft, which he confessed was ironic, since a power outage extinguished the lighting and music for his show before he had the chance to show half his looks on the runway.
Choosing to return to an all-black palette from his past flirtations with bright colors such as white and pink might not have been ideal without the lights. Fortunately, he had candles lining the white runway and some emergency lights emitted a cool blue glow along the edges of the room. His fans also turned on their phone flashlights to help illuminate the way for the models strutting in the dark. And a drummer who had beat a primal tune at the start of the show returned to the catwalk to accompany the stomping from the crowd as if they were demanding an encore at a rock show.
What the audience managed to glimpse before the room went dark was the sharp tailoring of Hirota’s edgy streetwear: skirts for men, leather HotPants for women, cropped capes and sleeveless car coats. Some of the styles, like the sleeveless shirts with squared-off hems, gave a flash of déjà vu from previous presentations in Los Angeles. Still, he tried his hand in creating a dress with a train for the first time.
Keeping with the witchcraft theme, Hirota also experimented with five elements: velvet, fringe, leather, graphics and embellishments. While leather is his go-to for bondage-style getups, velvet was new in his repertoire. The graphics and embellishments were coated in gold, ranging from a foil screen-print of a pentagram to oversized zippers and O-rings that symbolized eclipses.
“It’s just about getting back in tune with the universe and connecting to yourself,” he said after the show, adding that the witchcraft doesn’t “have to be dark. It can be light and meditative.”
Guillermo Diaz, who portrays tech-savvy assassin Huck on the hit TV series “Scandal” and was one of the attendees who turned on his phone’s flashlight to guide the models down the runway, actually liked the dark side. Friends with Hirota for years, he was waiting for an opportunity to sport a look from the line for an event. “Hopefully, we’ll do it this year,” Diaz said. “I like the dark, moody, edgy stuff. My daily uniform is a leather jacket, gray T-shirt and black pants with black boots.”
Other celebrities who showed their support for Hirota included rapper Kid Ink and Kali Hawk, an actress who designed the gold filigree talons featured on the final look, a velvet dress with a train, under a label called H. Crowne.
“That was dramatic,” Hirota said. Even in the dark, he succeeded in showing that “there’s a lot of movement, a lot of spirit animals.” Apropos, his spirit animal to help him charge in the dark is none other than the bull.